Well-known faces have come together to tell the stories of “invisible” victims of domestic abuse, as part of an Aberystwyth-based campaign marking World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and Pride month.
While June 2022 is Pride month, marking 50 years since the first UK Pride event, today (15 June) is also World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
And Aberystwyth University’s Centre For Age Gender and Social Justice has produced a podcast and campaign video, to “pause and consider hidden inequalities facing some of the older LGBTQ+ people”.
The podcast, called Out of Sight, is based on research conducted by Dewis Choice, an initiative by the centre, with “older victim-survivors of domestic abuse, including those who are LGBTQ+ and are living with a disability”.
Principal investigator on Dewis Choice, as well as co-investigators Rebecca Zerk and Elize Freeman, have been exploring the voices and experiences of the victims in the podcast, with the help of director and producer Christian Gordine.
Many well-known faces and voices, including Tessa Peake-Jones, who played Raquel, Del Boy’s girlfriend, in the BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses, tell the stories of older victim-survivors in the podcast.
Sarah Wydall, Principal Investigator on Dewis Choice which is based at the Centre for Age Gender and Social Justice, explains: “Domestic abuse is already hidden. However, when the victims of abuse are aged 60 years and older, they become invisible.
“Not only is very little known about the experiences of older victim-survivors of domestic abuse, but this is amplified by a lack of reporting in wide stream media, insufficient specialised service provisions, limited policy attention and cultural ageism within the wider community.”
Rebecca, who is deputy director at the Centre For Age Gender and Social Justice, added: “Our cultural, political and provisional understanding of domestic abuse is mostly centred around the idea that victims of domestic abuse are mostly younger white women in heterosexual relationships.
“Whilst true, it leaves very little room for anyone who falls outside of this demographic. We wanted to create a podcast based on our research and wealth of knowledge that can really help contribute to recognising older people as potential victims of domestic abuse.”
Sarah Wydall adds: “We hope that Out of Sight starts a much-needed conversation about the need to create spaces for older people of all backgrounds to have their stories shared and told, and to consider and addresshidden inequalities facing some older LGBTQ+ people. When we ignore the experiences and issues of older people, we end up creating a climate where we can’t, or rather don’t, talk about older people in the context of domestic abuse.”
Christian added: “Out of Sight is built up of real testimonials of older victim-survivors who have either accessed the services of Dewis Choice or have been involved in research.
“Due to confidentiality issues, actors have been used in some instances to help get these stories told. With the help of Tessa Peake-Jones (Only Fools and Horses), Maggie Ollerenshaw (Open All Hours), Siobhan Redmond (Taggart), and Peter Guinness (Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan), those stories have been told.”
Furthermore, the team have released a short campaign video, called Do You See Me.
Out of Sight is available on all podcast streaming platforms and will also be accessible through its own website, but this is currently under construction.
If you’d like to help shape how that may look and secure some free credits if we do go live then please register here.
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